Profile: Tiona Nekkia McClodden (1981-)

Tiona Nekkia McClodden is an interdisciplinary research-based conceptual artist, filmmaker and curator based in Philadelphia, PA.

Early life and education

McClodden was born in Blytheville, Arkansas in 1981. She went to Clark Atlanta University, majoring in film and psychology then continued her education in film at Spelman College.

Career and works

McClodden’s work explores concepts of gender, sexuality and race, centering a black, queer lineage.She produces her work through her film and media company Harriet’s Gun, which she has said is a reference to Harriet Tubman.

She has created bodies of work in dedication to underrepresented African American writers and musicians like Langston Hughes and Florence B. Price or Essex Hemphill, Brad Johnson and Julius Eastman, who made work in the 1980s during the AIDS crisis in the US.

Her work was shown at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia as part of the Speech/Acts exhibit in 2017.

McClodden has been the recipient of several notable awards. She was the fifth recipient of the Keith Haring Fellowship in Art and Activism at the Center for Curatorial Studies and the Human Rights Project at Bard College. In 2018 she was a Magnum Foundation Fund grantee. In 2017 McCloddon won the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Award. She was a 2016 Pew Fellow and received a grant from Pew in 2018.

McClodden showed in the 2019 Whitney Biennial, curated by Rujeko Hockley and Jane Panetta. McClodden participated alongside 75 other artists including fellow Philadelphia-based artist Carolyn Lazard. McClodden’s exhibit was a three-hour-long, six-screen film documenting a religious pilgrimage she took to Nigeria, running on a loop. In March 2020, it was announced that McClodden would be included in Prospect.5 in New Orleans, LA curated by Naima J. Keith and Diana Nawi. 

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